The War on Gaza and Its Coverage
Israeli propaganda is predictable, as are Western media which parrot Israeli propaganda. What Israel does regularly is to treat every little or big incident in the course of the Arab-Israeli conflict as an event in itself, divorced from its background and from the century-old conflict. Thus, if a useless Hamas rocket is fired on a target in Israel, the rocket becomes the story and no background is permitted to explain the political development. Worse, Zionists treat any attempt at contextualization as further evidence of “services to terrorism.”
The political language has been posed long enough by Zionists. What Amos Oz says about the Nazi war on language applies to Zionists (and to Amos Oz himself, who can’t speak about Palestinians without using the word terrorist or terrorism). American media are predictable: they serve as propagandists for the Israeli aggressor army. But in the years since I moved here in 1983, I can easily say that the US media have become more and more propagandistic. If you look at the US media coverage of the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982, you can easily conclude that the “Palestinian viewpoint” – and we are not talking about the views of Dahlan or Abu Mazen or Salam Fayyad here – is no more permitted. US programs now host two Zionists to debate Israeli wars and massacres. And Zionists from the research arm of the Israeli lobby, WINEP, are now treated as representatives of the Arab youth. If an Arab is permitted to speak in US media, it is usually a Zionist Likudnik former Arab like Fouad Ajami, who is more comfortable than, say, Abe Foxman, in vomiting traditional Western bigotry and racism against Arabs and Muslims.
There is no attempt at balance in US media, unless one is using the word “balance” in the context of the motto of Fox News. There is no attempt at treating Palestinian victims as human beings, worth as much as Israeli human beings. Palestinian victims are never innocent: they are always treated as tools of some nefarious regional or international conspiracy. When I first came to the US in the 1980s, Palestinian victims were dismissed as agents of the evil Soviet Empire. All PLO organizations were portrayed as tools of the KGB. The Zionists basically link the Palestinian people to whichever enemy-of-the-day America happens to hate. Now, the Palestinians are dismissed as tools of Iran. Israeli propagandists in the US quickly resorted to their cliché formula: they said that the Hamas commander who was assassinated by Israel was “the Bin Laden for Israel.” But were the children killed also the Bin Ladens for Israel? And all those Marxist and liberal and socialist Palestinians who were killed over the years, were they also Bin Ladens for Israel?
The New York Times and other Zionist media now have a new technique: they insert the word Hamas in every sentence to justify Israeli crimes against the Palestinian people: so hospitals are “Hamas-run,” schools are “Hamas-run,” and wombs are also “Hamas-run.” All Israeli killings are justified. Not one killing by Israel is ever labeled as terrorism in the US media. The word “indiscriminate” is never permitted in describing indiscriminate bombings by Israel. Even Thomas Friedman used that word when he covered the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982.
But what the Western media (British media now mimic US media in serving Israeli propaganda) don’t want to report is that Israeli war crimes, assaults, offensives, “pre-emptive wars,” massacres, raids, invasions and aggression have been going on for more than a century now. None of those events are isolated. There is an accumulated history of aggression and massacres by Israel. But Western media want to report on the developments while insisting on erasing the history and even the weeks-old history, because every Israeli bombing or raid has to be presented as “retaliation.” Any reference to a previous Israeli bomb that preceded the Palestinian attack – any attack – is not fit to print because it violates the official Israeli narrative.
But even supporters of Israel, like Ethan Bronner [former Jerusalem bureau chief of the New York Times], are aware that Israeli policies and patterns of war are not tenable. Of course, for Bronner and other Zionists, the concern is always with Israel and the interest of the occupation of Palestine. For Arabs, the Israeli pattern of violence has been the biggest Arab weapon against Israel. Israel has managed to produce enemies regularly over the year. Within months after Israel kicked the PLO out of Lebanon, Hezbollah was born. And Israel’s method is typically violent: they convince themselves that with this additional war or with this additional massacre or with this additional occupation or with this additional war crime, the enemy will be subjugated and the Palestinians would give up the dream of liberating Palestine.
A century of Israeli war crimes has not done the job for Israel. Its ability to fight war without being molested is now history. For someone of my generation, it is clear that the new wars between Israel and its enemies are characterized by a more clumsy and confused – albeit brutal and savage – military and media performance, while Arab resistance to Israel has become more skilled and more daring. Arab armies used to run from confrontation with Israel, while new resistance groups seem to relish every new opportunity for confrontation.
This is not the last war and there will be more in years to come. But Israel can’t escape the trap that Zionism has set for it. It is an entity that can’t prevail without resorting to a pattern of regular and frequent violence. But with every new chapter, new angry Arabs are being produced, more determined than ever to fight back. From a historical perspective, you can’t watch what is happening and avoid concluding that the Zionist entity is doomed, and that it is a matter of time – measured in years only.
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